Two arrested over ‘legal highs’ in Lincoln, police issue tips to spot ‘zombie-like’ side effects

Lincolnshire Police have issued a warning about the effects and criminal penalties that come with the use of New Psychoactive Substances (formerly known as legal highs) after two people were arrested this weekend.

Two men, one in his 20s and one in his 30s, were arrested in the St Swithin’s Square area of Lincoln on Saturday, July 15 for possession of ‘legal highs’.

They have been released under investigation.

On the same day, it was announced that a 15-year-old girl’s death in Newton Abbot had been linked to NPS.

Police in Lincoln area warning that it is a criminal offence to be in possession of substances, which are dealt with as a Class B drug.

Drugs such as Spice and Mamba can be dealt with in the same way that they would be if the holder was in procession of Ketamine or Cannabis.

The maximum penalty for this would be a custodial sentence of up to five years, an unlimited fine or both.

The possession of Spice or Mamba became illegal in December 2016 through the Misuse of Drugs Act and this gives police officers the power to search anyone they believe is in possession.

The ‘zombie’ effect

Inspector Pat Coates. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Inspector Pat Coates, said: “We would like to remind people that these substances are illegal and for good reason.

“The side effects are vast from users appearing ‘zombie-like’ with pale skin and pink eyes to having epileptic fits and seizures, and from breathing difficulties to severe chest pains.

“We know it can also lead to anti-social behaviour and aggression too, and as we have a responsibility to protect the public we need to know if you think someone has used Spice or Mamba.

“It’s also about making sure that anyone who has smoked this receives treatment as there’s every chance they could need medical assistance, and that those trying to stop using the substances might need support to do so.”

Spice and Mamba are Synthetic Cannabinoids – this isn’t cannabis but the substances can have similar effects and be more potent. They are typically bought and sold in clear plastic bags and also resemble Cannabis.

Spice was originally a brand name of a drug, sold as a ‘legal high’ along with other brand names like Black Mamba, Annihilation, Exodus Damnation and Happy Joker.

Top tips

Lincolnshire Police have release the following advice for spotting a user and reporting a concern:

Top tips for spotting a user of Spice or Mamba

  • Someone possessing a clear plastic bag containing a herbal substance.
  • A ‘zombie-like’ appearance with pale skin and redness around the eyes.
  • Someone not making sense and behaving in an unusual manner – jerky movements or shaking of legs.
  • Someone struggling to catch their breath.
  • A complaint of a high temperature or someone being sick.
  • A complaint of chest pains or a high heart rate.
  • Someone lying unconscious, having a fit or a seizure.

There are a number of ways to report if you see legal highs being used:

  • Please report it by calling 101.
  • To report anonymously, please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
  • In a life threatening emergency call emergency call 999.
  • Support is available for anyone that needs it through Addaction Lincolnshire. To get in touch with them call 0800 3047021 or visit: www.addaction.org.uk